Archiver > KYBOURBO > 2003-07 > 1057931289

From: David Clifton <>
Subject: [KYBOURBO] Pugh request..response
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2003 08:50:20 -0500

Thanks for the reply. I haven't done much research on the Pugh's but it
sounds like your Joseph may be the actual father of the Anne that I was
looking for an obit on. I know his wife was named Elizabeth. What I know is
that John Wilbargers oldest son, JOSIAH PUGH WILBARGER, was one of the
Kentucky-Missouri colonists that came to Texas with Stephen F. Austin's
second colony in 1827. Josiah and two brothers, Matthias and John Wesley who
joined him in 1837, made names for themselves in early Texas. Matthias was
the State Surveyor and John Wesley was a preacher and chronicler of life in
early Texas. Wilbarger County was named by the State of Texas after Josiah
and Matthias. Josiah was scalped in Texas and lived to tell about it in the
famous (at least famous down here) tale from early Texas (outlined below if
you are interested).

His father, John Wilbarger moved from Rockingham County, Virginia to Bourbon
County, Kentucky prior to 1800. He married Anne Pugh in 1799. Anne's father
was Joseph Pugh, who was a Revolutionary soldier who moved to Bourbon County
and operated a distillery near the place where he is buried. Of the eight
sons and daughters born to John and Anne, Josiah Pugh was the eldest. He was
born in Bourbon County in 1801 and spent his youth there. John's first wife,
Anne, died in 1818. Soon thereafter, he remarried to Sarah Mitchell.

Do you know if an obit on Anne exists? I am researching my Clifton line in
Bourbon County and am hoping there is some usable reference in it. My
William Clifton lived for a while in Bourbon County and married Anne (Pugh)
Wilbarger's daughter Margaret.

In any case, here's the info on the scalping of Wilbarger that you might
find interesting.

David C.

The following extract from the Dallas Morning News gives an interesting
account of this terrible experience in Josiah's life as told by his
stepdaughter. This account is verified by John Wesley Wilbarger in his book
"Indian Depredations in Early Texas", and by J. Frank Dobie under the title
"The Dream that Saved Wilbarger's Life" in his well known book "Tales of Old
Time Texas".
Mr. Wilbarger and some other men, in August 1833 were engaged in some
surveying for General T.J. Chambers (later to become the second husband of
Margaret Barker Wilbarger after the death of Josiah), a few miles below
Austin. Mr. and Mrs. Wilbarger lived at Barton's Prairie, about 25 miles
down the Colorado River from Austin. Mr. Wilbarger and his survey party had
spent the night at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Reuben Hornsby at Hornsby's
Bend, 12 miles below Austin (the Hornsby family descendant, Rogers Hornsby
was a well known professional baseball player). Next morning they rode up
the river to where they were to survey. In the party, besides Josiah, were
four other men. Two of them, a Mr. Christian and Mr. Strother, were settlers
in Austin's Colony, and the other men, Haynie and Standifer, had recently
come to Texas from Missouri, expecting to settle here, and were assisting
Mr. Wilbarger in the surveying work and prospecting for themselves..
At noon, they stopped near Pecan Springs, about four miles east of Austin,
to eat their lunch. They staked their horses nearby and were eating when
they were suddenly attacked. Mr. Christian fell mortally wounded at the
first volley from the Indians. The others returned the fire as they ran for
their horses. Josiah not knowing Mr. Christian was mortally wounded, went to
his assistance and tried to get him to his horse. Two of the horses,
frightened by the sudden attack, had broken their ropes and run away, while
the other three men escaped on the other three horses. Josiah got Christian
to shelter behind a tree and continued the battle with the Indians but a
moment later his neck was pierced by an arrow shot from behind and he fell,
paralyzed. The other three men, believing their two comrades dead, left the
fight and fled to safety leaving the Indians surrounding the bodies of
Christian and Wilbarger.
The Indians killed Christian by cutting his throat and scalping him. Seeing
the arrow sticking in the back of Wilbarger's neck, with the point
protruding under his chin, the Indians believed he was dead, but began to
take the scalp from his head. Wilbarger told my mother afterwards he was not
even unconscious, but was painfully aware of everything that was taking
Most persons, when thinking of Indians scalping people, believe they tear
off the whole scalp, but those Indians cut off pieces of scalp about the
size of a dollar. They took seven pieces of scalp from Josiah's head. He
said every time they cut and tore a piece off his head it sounded like a
pealing of loud thunder. It pained him very little at the time because he
was paralyzed and numbed by the arrow in his neck. The Indians stripped the
clothes off the bodies of the two men and left them for dead.
Josiah soon lost consciousness but came to late in the afternoon. The blood
was still oozing from the scalp and he was covered with clotted blood. He
managed to extricate the arrow from his neck. He was famished with thirst
and very weak, but he began to crawl toward a nearby stream. He finally
reached it, drank and lay down in the water to soothe the fever which had
set in. He lay in the water a long time and became so chilled and weak that
only with a supreme effort was he able to get out onto the bank. He then
went to sleep from exhaustion and awakened at nightfall. By this time, the
flies were swarming about the wounds on his head and laying eggs there. He
was much alarmed and decided that he would try to crawl to the Hornsby
place, eight miles away. He managed to drag himself about half a mile to
Walnut Springs, but was so exhausted that he could go no farther. He set
down against a large tree and there had a remarkable vision of his sister,
Margaret (Wilbarger) Clifton. The apparition said to him, "Brother Josiah,
you are too weak to go any farther by yourself. Stay here and help will come
before the setting of tomorrow's sun". She spoke other words of comfort and
then moved away in the direction of the Hornsby home. It was six weeks later
that news was received in Texas, that Josiah's sister Margaret had died in
St. Louis County, Missouri a few hours before Wilbarger was wounded and
The three men who escaped the attack returned to the Hornsby home and
reported that they had seen Wilbarger and Christian killed by the Indians.
It was decided not to go after the bodies until the next day. It was feared
the Indians might be lurking in the vicinity and they knew they did not have
enough men to fight the group of Indians that had attacked the survey party.
During the night, Mrs. Hornsby had a dream that she saw Wilbarger wounded
and bleeding against a tree beside Walnut Springs. The dream was so vivid
and horrible that it awoke her. She awakened her husband and told him of her
vision and begged him to take the men and go after Wilbarger. Mr. Hornsby
assured her that it could only be a dream, but when she would not be
convinced, he waked the three men who had escaped and told them about the
incident. They declared that it was not possible for Wilbarger to yet live.
They had seen his neck pierced by the arrow and had seen the Indians gather
around the two men and begin cutting them with their knives. So all went
back to bed and went to sleep. Mrs. Hornsby again had the same identical
dream and again near morning she had the vision of the terrible plight of
Wilbarger the third time. She aroused then and prepared breakfast before
daylight and awakened the men to eat so they might go to the rescue of
Wilbarger, whom she was firmly convinced was alive. She filled a Mexican
gourd with milk and sent it along, for she was sure Wilbarger would be
hungry. She also sent two sheets, one to cover the body of Christian and the
other to wrap around Wilbarger, whom she said had been stripped by the
By daybreak the rescue party was in the saddle and on its way. In the party,
besides the three men who were in the fatal encounter the day before, were
Reuben Hornsby, his 16 year old son, William, a Mr. Webber, Joseph Rogers
and John Walters. When the party neared Walnut Springs, they were startled
by seeing a naked, blood covered figure rise from sitting beside a large
tree. Mr. Rogers, thinking it was a wounded Indian from the group which had
killed the two white men the day before, shouted, "Here they are boys" and
raised his gun to fire. Josiah, faint and in a weak voice, raised his hands
and called to them "Don't shoot, it's Wilbarger". The wounded man was given
the milk and after the sheet had been wrapped about his body, was lifted
onto the horse in front of William Hornsby and taken to the Hornsby home.
Some of the other men got the other body and prepared it for burial. My
mother, (Margaret Barker Wilbarger) who was at home on Barton's Prairie
caring for the children and looking after the place while her husband was
away surveying, was notified and rushed to the bedside of her husband.
Medical aid was obtained for Josiah as soon as possible and his scalp soon
began to heal. Before long, he was able to be moved to his home. A small
place on the top of his head never did heal. The scarred scalp and open sore
were kept covered with a silk cap. Silk was scarce and expensive in Texas in
those days, so my mother made the caps from her silk dress which was part of
her trousseau when she married in Missouri. The wedding dress of a bride
today would not furnish enough material for very many caps, but my mother's
dress provided cap material for many years.
Wilbarger's vision of his sister and Mrs. Hornsby's dream were talked about
far and wide throughout Texas by the settlers and I have heard the incident
discussed many times during my childhood and younger days while I lived in
that part of the State. The settlers marveled all the more about a month
after Wilbarger was scalped when a letter was received saying that the
sister had died in Florissant (St. Louis County), Missouri on the same day
that she appeared to him in a vision. It is just one of those things which
we do not expect to understand on this earth.
(end of newspaper account)
Josiah lived for another decade. In 1845, when passing through a low door in
his cotton mill, he struck his head causing infection of the bone of his
scalp. He died soon thereafter. His dying request was that they plant a
Locust tree at his grave, that his children would know where he lay, and his
grandchildren that came afterwards, then he said "that is as far as I can
go" and died. Josiah was buried at the Barker place in Bastrop County, as
were his sons, John L. Wilbarger, Texas Ranger killed by Indians, Lt. Daniel
Webster Wilbarger of Bastrop Military Academy, and James Harvey Wilbarger,
who fought in the Texas war of Independence against the Mexicans. Margaret
Barker Wilbarger remarried Thomas Chambers and is also buried at Fairview
Cemetery. Josiah and Margaret's remains were later disinterred by the State
of Texas and placed in the State Cemetery in Austin.

-----Original Message-----
From: Mary Bishop [mailto:]
Sent: Friday, July 11, 2003 12:11 AM
Subject: Re: [KYBOURBO] Paris KY Obituaries

A Joseph Pugh of Bourbon County was my grandfather He married
Elizabeth Hunt of North Carolina . I s this the same one you are looking for
his descendents

----- Original Message -----
From: "David Clifton" <>
To: <>
Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2003 11:52 AM
Subject: RE: [KYBOURBO] Paris KY Obituaries

> I am looking for an obituary for Anne (Pew/Pugh) Wilbarger/Milbarger (the
> "W" sometimes looked like an "M" in early documentes) that died in Bourbon
> County in 1818. She married John Wilbarger/Milbarger in about 1799 and was
> the daughter of Joseph Pugh also of Bourbon County. I believe she and her
> husband lived on Iron Works Rd at the time. John remarried a Sally
> and moved to Missouri by 1825. I'm not sure if any of the local papers
> have carried the obituary but since the Pugh family was a well known
> at the time, and John Wilbarger had property, I am hoping that something
> published.
> Regards,
> David Clifton
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [mailto:]
> Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2003 11:21 AM
> To:
> Subject: Re: [KYBOURBO] Paris KY Obituaries
> The Western Citizen
> Fri 21 Dec. 1849
> Deaths
> On the morning of the 13th inst. at his residence, Mr. John Debruler of
> county, a soldier in the Revolutionary War, aged 93 years 6 months and 5
> days.
> He was born in Hartford Co., MD. on the 7th day of June 1750. At age 25,
> rallied to the standard of his country. He was in the Battles of Trenton,
> Princeton, Monmouth, and Brandywine. He removed to this state some 50
> ago.
> Member of the Methodist Church for some 60 years.
> Recently in Millersburgh, Lewis Vimont.
> On Friday the 14th inst. in this vicinity, Daniel Delaney, A solder in the
> Revolutionary war, aged 88 years.
> ==== KYBOURBO Mailing List ====
> One of the best research libraries for Bourbon County, Kentucky, genealogy
> is: John Fox, Jr., Memorial Library, Paris, Kentucky 40361-2002. It is
> temporarily closed for renovation.
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